1998 Hall of Fame--The Son Also Rises
Romano is quick to add, however, that Spenlinhauer's heart is made of pure gold: "He comes off kind of stern and gruff sometimes, but he is a good guy."
Lou Gaspari, corporate vice president for Sun Chemical in Philadelphia, shares the same opinion. Gaspari has been selling Spenlinhauer ink for over two decades, and during that time, he has developed a great deal of respect for Spencer's chief executive.
"He's a man of his word," Gaspari says. "When you make a business deal with him, it is a deal. And after he went through hard times, he never forgot his friends when the good times came back."
Hobby has similar feelings. "John is more than just a customer," he says. "When the relationship goes beyond business to friendship, that's when business really becomes a lot of fun."
Michael Donnelly also watched his business relationship with Spenlinhauer foster into friendship. The vice president of Starcrest Products of California, a direct-mailing company in Perris, CA, Donnelly ordered his first job from Spencer three years ago. He quickly hit it off with Spenlinhauer, noting that Spencer's chief executive runs his company with integrity.
Donnelly not only admires Spenlinhauer's professionalism, but also his personality. "I'm very much a direct, straight shooter," Donnelly says. "And he's the same way. So our communications are always very comfortable."
Spenlinhauer's dedication to his friends is perhaps only overshadowed by his dedication to Spencer Press. In an age where mergers and acquisitions occur commonly, Spenlinhauer has vowed to keep the company independent. In fact, he is already helping to train Spencer's next generation. John has a 25-year-old son, Eric, in the business, and Stephen's 23-year-old son, Michael, also works for the company.
Investing in Education
Michael and Eric aren't the only young adults Spenlinhauer has encouraged to enter the printing industry. A member of the Web Offset Association's board of directors, Spenlinhauer chairs the association's scholarship committee.